A Close Call by Miss PeBeep
by Miss PeBeep (June 2002)
As children growing up, we would always look forward to the expected or unexpected visit from a relative living overseas or in another parish or town.
One such visit would often come from a Cousin Lando who lived in Manchester. Now that I have growing up and am more aware, I doubt he was a cousin by blood, but whether or not we always loved when he visited.
Cousin Lando was a farmer by profession. To stand a better chance of selling his produce, he purchased a blue isuzu pickup truck in which he would take foodstuffs like yellow and white yam dasheen, pumpkin Irish potatoes all the way to Portland to sell. In addition to these he would purchase things like oranges, eskellion and other foods in large quantity with the sole purpose of selling them too on his trip.
He would reach Portland by about two o’clock on a Tuesday evening and by the following day, he would have sold off all his produces and begin to buy jelly and dry coconuts to get back to Manchester to sell in the weekend market.
The joys that we look forward to on each of his trips was to eat a whole heap of oranges and to climb up into the back of his pick up when it was emptied and go for rides with him.
On one of his weekly visit, he decided to go visit on of my aunts who lived about five minutes drive from us in an adjoining community. Nelke my eldest sister and I jumped up into the back of the pickup all anxious to go for a ride. The pickup had two rows of pipe running around the perimeter of the back section to facilitate his packing of the produces higher than the van’s design allowed. So when we got in we stood up and held on the rails. Nelke stood closer to the cab on the right and I stood closer to the tailgate on the left.
Now, our house was facing a parochial road. I have lived along that road all my life and, it has never been paved. It was narrow and had dig outs in the surface where rainwater had cut channels in it. There was not much space along that section of the road for the vehicle to turn. Smaller vehicles could turn at our gate, but it would be after much reverse and forward movements therefore, he was quite used to having to reverse for about 1,000 feet in order to get back to the main road.
This day however things did not go as planned. During the process of reversing he went too close to the left side and the left rear tyre hit and rode a rock by the side of the road. The impact of the tyre hitting a stationary object caused the pickup to jerk so much that I lost my grip on the railing and was thrown out. I hit the road with a thud and found myself flat on my back and steering up under the bottom of the van.
Nelke who was standing diagonally across from me saw when I fell out of the van. She started to shout and hit the top of the cab with her palm a signaling Cousin Lando to stop. Instinctively he stepped on the brake to stop the truck from running over me. Within an instant I was back into the back of the van, sitting down as if nothing happened. Turning to look in my direction he asked us what had happened. Nelke started to explain but I shouted above her voice that nothing had happened and he was to go on.
Well since we both we in the van, nothing could have been wrong so we continued up to our aunt. When I alighted from the van and started to walk around, they began to question as to why it was that my back was so dirty. Eventually after much humiliation, I finally admitted to having fallen out of the van and was nearly run over.
As the night wore on, the pains of my battered flesh eventually intensified. I was taken to the doctor the following day and treated for concussion.
Well I hopped around on my bruised bum and with my bruised ego, but I am still here, alive enough to tell the tale.